University of Virginia
Physics Department

## Newton's 2nd Law of Motion

A Physical Science Activity

### Student Activity

Materials

• Ramp (1 meter long), can use cove molding or meter sticks with side rails on each side to keep the balls on the ramp;
• 3 balls, wooden, glass, and metal (12 mm or ½ inch works well);
• A small cardboard bow (7 x 6 x 4 cm), or a paper cup (cut a 3 x 3 hole in one side of the cup at the very top on one side);
• 3 medium size washers
• Meter stick
• 4 textbooks
• Tape
• Graph paper

Procedure

Part 1:

1. After reading the procedure, answer the 1st question before starting the experiment.
2. Make an inclined plane using the cove molding and four textbooks.
3. Place the box or cup upside down on the table at the bottom of the ramp with the opening facing the ramp, so it will catch a ball as it is rolled down the ramp.
4. Roll the wooden ball down the ramp and measure how far the box or cup moved from its starting position.
5. Record your data and repeat twice.
6. Roll the glass ball down the ramp and measure how far the box or cup moved from its starting position.
7. Record your data and repeat twice.
8. Roll the metal ball down the ramp and measure how far the box or cup moved from its starting position.
9. Plot your results, with the type of ball on the x-axis, and the distance the box or cup moved on the y-axis.

Part 2:

1. Tape 1 washer on top of the box or cup.
2. Roll the metal ball down the same ramp and measure how far the box or cup moved from its starting position.
3. Record your data and repeat twice.
4. Repeat with two washers, then with three washers.
5. Record your data and repeat twice.
6. Plot your results, with the number of washer on the x-axis, and the distance the box or cup moved on the y-axis.

Data Table

Distance Traveled by the Cup (cm)

 Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Average Wooden Ball Glass Ball Metal Ball 1 Washer 2 Washers 3 Washers

Assessment

1. Write a hypothesis for both parts of this experiment.

2. How does the force of the moving object (type of ball) affect the distance traveled by the cup?

3. How does the mass of the object at rest (box or cup) affect how far it travels when hit by the metal ball?

4. Describe the relationship between force (mass of ball) and the distance the box or cup moved. Describe the relationship
between the mass of the box or cup, and the distance the box or cup moved. Do you agree with Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion?